I-Can’t-Believe-it’s-Vegan Chili

vegan chili

The March weather here on the mid-Atlantic east coast reminds me a lot of my moods lately:  fickle and often unpredictable.  One day five inches of snow gets dumped, the next day brings a 60-degree thaw.

Today it’s 68 degrees, but a high of 36 is predicted for Thursday. Snow is a possibility again the following Monday.

Jeez!  So when I ask myself if there’s a call for another soup recipe or two this year, the correct response is “absolutely”!

This adaption of a recipe from this month’s issue of Cooking Light turned out to be a pleasant surprise.  I was intrigued to read about senior editor Tim Cebula’s 30-day vegan challenge.  He prepared for his challenge by consulting chef Richard Landau, owner of the Vedge restaurant in Philadelphia.  Landau not only provided several beautiful and rich vegan recipes, but imparted some wisdom on learning how to eat vegan and navigate the landscape of a predominantly meat-eating society.  His first recommendation is to “cook like you mean it”-layer with big, bold flavors and techniques and dishes will never be bland.  This chili soup brings this principle home.

But first, my confession:  I added meat because I didn’t have faith it would be good without it!  Sure, I make plenty of recipes without meat, but my preconception is that chili is supposed to have meat.  I browned some pork sausage and added it, but my husband and I both agree that it definitely didn’t need it..

Leave it out.  You won’t miss it.  Promise.

Vegan Chili (adapted from Cooking Light magazine)


  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 Cup chopped onion
  • 1 chopped red bell pepper
  • 1Tbsp chopped garlic
  • 2 Cans diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp dried ground sage
  • 1 tsp crushed red pepper
  • 4 cups vegetable stoock
  • 2 (15-ounce) can dark red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 cups kale, stems removed and chopped
  • 2 Tbsp chopped fresh oregano

Heat a large Dutch oven over medium heat.

Add oil to pan.

Add onion, bell pepper, and garlic; sauté

until slightly softened, about 5 minutes.

Add tomatoes and next 5 ingredients (through red pepper). Bring to a boil and cook until liquid is reduced by half (about 1 minute). Stir in stock.

Combine 1 can kidney beans and 1 can of black beans in a medium bowl. Smash with a potato masher.

Add the bean mixture, plus the 1 remaining can of kidney beans to the pot. Bring to a simmer and cook 5 minutes.

Add kale and continue to simmer another 5 minutes. Sprinkle with oregano and serve.


vegan chili

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